Happy Monday, everyone! I am so thankful for a long weekend and the beginning of a new semester this week. After a crazy week of exams for my students last week, it has taken me until today to fully recover and refocus on the week ahead.
I am also very excited because I wrapped up my 2015 prep this weekend using Lara Casey‘s “Make It Happen” book and PowerSheets. I’ve followed her blog for several years now and was so excited about her book’s release in December. This is also the first time I’ve used the PowerSheets to set goals– previously I’ve just used to blog posts, which is perfectly fine too. If you’re looking for an in-depth process to set goals that matter and keep them, these are all great tools.
One of my favorite parts of the process is making a vision for the year and determining what matters most. Over the past few months, I have just felt overwhelmed and exhausted by all I have committed to, like I was being pulled in a million different directions. That is not something I want for my life and this year, I’m putting an end to that feeling. I know I can’t control my life or the things that come my way, but I can control my attitude and how I handle each situation. I can also control what I say “yes” to and what I can politely decline in order to focus on what I believe is most important.
To some readers, it may seem like several of my goals are trivial or not worthy of mention, but to me, it’s something I actually have to write down in order to stick to. That is the great thing about these goals: they’re mine. While they may be similar to someone else’s, I have chosen them because they fit into what I want to see happen this year for the different aspects of my life and what I truly believe God is calling me to do this year.
These goals are not about a New Year’s Resolution (otherwise I would be almost 20 days late), or checking things off a list, but about making changes in my life that I think will benefit me and others around me. This is something I’m striving for in the long haul, not just the 11 months and 12 days ahead. This year is just part of a bigger process as I move forward as a wife, teacher, daughter, sister, and overall person.
Putting these goals in writing on the blog is important to me as a source of accountability. If I share it, I am much more likely to do it than if I just put it in a notebook that is stuffed under our bed. So, if you will humor me and read through my goals, I would greatly appreciate it. Thoughts, advice, and feedback is always welcomed here!
1. Abide in God’s Word and share it with others. I want to read the Bible daily and apply that reading into my daily life and conversations. Being a Christ follower without sharing Him is a selfish waste, so I want to strive to share my experiences more frequently. As a church, we are currently reading John 15 each morning during our series “The Power of Same,” and it’s amazing what I can learn differently each day from the same Scripture. I also am grateful for the structure provided by the YouVersion app with Bible reading plans that help me stay on track.
2. Establish a healthy lifestyle through clean(er) eating and exercise. I feel like everyone has the goal in the beginning of each year and that it falters. I want to look ahead and realize the importance of being healthy now for my life later on. So, this month, Zach and I are clearing out our pantry of junk and stocking the fridge with good, healthy ingredients. It’s a process, but one that will definitely pay off. We are also being more intentional about food prep on weekends so that we don’t grab what’s “easy” (read: junk) throughout the week. It’s been a great help over the past two weeks. I also would like to incorporate workouts 3-4 times a week.
3. Create boundaries between work and home. Over the past few weeks, I’ve read several awesome blog posts about how to be more productive in the work place, how to focus in on a project, etc. and they’re all great. However, they are not for teachers. Our job is never done. We teach all day, often losing the planning period we are given to cover another teacher’s classes or attend a meeting, and have little time to pee and gobble down half our lunch, let alone grade papers, plan ahead, or make copies. So my pattern over the past year and a half has been to lug home even more work to resume as soon as I get home. And don’t get me started on weekends. Because of this bad pattern, I’ve blurred my work and home life, feeling guilty for not getting work done at home, even though that is not how I should be spending my time there in the first place. So this semester, I am saying a big, loud “NO” to bringing home papers to grade. My commitment is to do absolutely no work on weekends and instead using the time to enjoy time with the people that matter and do whatever needs to be done around the apartment. I will stay at work until 5:00 three days a week in order to get grading done without bringing it home, and enjoying home when I get there. This is my second weekend doing it and I love the freedom it brings. Come Monday morning, I don’t feel guilty for not doing work, and come Friday, I know I have a weekend ahead that is whatever I want it to be.
4. Read 12 books in 12 months. I’ve read so much more over the last 2 years by setting a goal for my reading and selecting my books ahead of time. My goal last year was 9 books, and I surpassed that. I did not read every book on the list, but I did read 9 books. I’m excited to read even more this year, and I will post about the books I have chosen later this week. What can I say? Once a bookworm, always a bookworm.
5. Prune away what doesn’t matter. I spoke about this briefly earlier, but one of my main focuses this year is to say “no” more and take away things that can be taken away so that I can focus on what really matters. This includes commitments and stuff. I don’t need the cute notepads in the One Spot at Target or the shirt that fits me just right at Old Navy. I do need to manage money better and use what I have before getting something else to take up drawer space. Hence the pruning.
6. Get more connected in church. We love our church. So much. But last year we took some time away from our serving commitments in order to prepare for the wedding and get accustomed to marriage. We celebrate 6 months of marriage in a few weeks, so it’s about time to get back on the train. We already in a couples group together on Sunday nights and attending church regularly, but I’m also excited about starting a high school girls group with my friend Chrissy and plugging back in to serving on weekends. You may be thinking “Didn’t she just say she needs to take on less?” Yes, I did. But these are things that matter and things we love and want to be a part of. So we are making room for them and getting rid of our Netflix binges at night so that we can have an impact on others instead.
7. Blog once per week. I really enjoy this outlet but have a hard time keeping up with it. So in my planner each week, I have set aside an evening to write a blog post. Some weeks it may be about my goals, some weeks it may be about what I’m reading in my Bible, and some weeks it may be something silly. I really enjoy my friend Emily‘s “Five on Friday” posts, so I may hijack that idea every once in a while to keep you updated on our goings-on. Regardless, you’ll be hearing more from me here.
8. Invest in our marriage and enjoy this season together. I can’t tell you in the time we’ve been married (and at each of our showers prior to the wedding) how many times we’ve been asked when we plan on having babies. Oy. It’s a sweet gesture and I know no one means harm by it, but that is not something we are planning on anytime soon. If it happens unexpectedly, it will be a blessing, but it is not in our plans yet. We are really excited to enjoy marriage before children and plan to use our time together now as awesomely as we can. We love to travel and hope to visit several fun places pre-stroller days so hopefully an exciting weekend away will happen before the ball drops and it’s 2016. We’ve talked about a couple of trips, but Charleston and Asheville are towards the top of the list. We also are really intentional about regular date nights, time together, etc. so it will be a great year together.
9. Decrease my social media use. If you know me at all, you know this is something I’ve been working on diligently for the past year. I believe very strongly about spending time with the people in front of me rather than the screen in my hand. Social media is too much of a distraction for me and a trap I fall into far too easily. Last weekend I deleted the social media apps from my phone and I haven’t looked back. Nothing there is more important than whoever I am with at the time especially when it’s just me and Zach. I do not want to be the couple who sits at the dinner table scrolling through our phones with no conversation. So, my apps are gone. I check in occasionally on my laptop, but that’s it. And I feel so free (and, dare I say it, productive). This is going to be an awesome change for me.
10. Stay organized. I am an organized person. I like clean lines, clean spaces, and clean clothes. With the time I intend to make by saying “no,” I will be able to use more time to keep life and brain less cluttered, which Zach knows, makes me much happier and much more sane. Clean spaces eliminate distraction and create more opportunity for productivity. Especially in my world. So my goal is not to reorganize but remain organized so that my life can be clutter-free and I can be intentional with my time.
So, that’s it. Ten goals for 2015 and beyond. I would love to know the goals you have in mind for the year and would love to pray for you as you seek to fulfill them. Feel free to comment below or reach out to me personally to share. I will be back later this week with the books I’ll be reading this year. I’d love any recommendations you have in case I need to tweak my list between now and then!